I am in my late 30s, married for 19 years with two teenage daughters. Career-wise, I have been blessed, for despite marrying young and starting late in the BPO industry, I was still able to land a managerial job.
I am unsure of what to do with my marriage. My husband, who has been out of work, fights a lot with the kids, loses his temper easily and starts being abusive, physically and verbally. I have told the kids to respect their father despite what he does. I would like to think that he has gotten frustrated with his life, being unemployed and totally dependent on me. But lately, he has gotten worse.
We are all trying hard to find reasons to understand him. How can I teach my kids to respect him when I am starting to lose my respect for him, as well? My eldest daughter is asking why we have to stay in this frustrating situation. I just say we stay out of duty, because he has no one else if we leave him.
The kids are academically gifted and perform well in school. I am afraid that if I don’t take them out from this situation, their studies will be affected. I don’t want them to think it’s fine to be abused, even verbally.
Life is terribly hard as it is without the attendant battering of being unemployed! It’s enough to crush one’s pride and pierce one’s soul. This virtual emasculation, this debilitation is almost on par with being locked up in a cage—so very humiliating in a macho culture.
Imagine waking up in the morning and having nothing to look forward to the whole day—a seemingly constant and useless predicament that doesn’t end.
And clearly, you cannot be blamed for feeling desperate— doing everything possible to maintain a semblance of family, and still not only being unappreciated, but abused by him, as well.
There is no divorce in the country, and separations are utterly messy. Any new relationship will only compound a problem with another. A valid choice is to iron out this marriage, no matter how desperate it looks. Every man or woman, whatever the delineation, always craves for peace and happiness—your problematic husband included.
It’s been said, “If you want change, you’re the one who’s got to change.” Since it is not going to be easy for you and your kids to walk away from him, have a family intervention and confront him without fear. Damn his hurt feelings! No ifs and buts. Nothing will be healed if you accept all his abuses without doing anything drastic about it.
Turn your mind-set around and rein in your reeling negativity toward your husband. Chip away at the facade he has built around him by suddenly becoming the very antithesis of what you’ve become. Have a truce from this constant headbutting with him. Surprise him by suddenly initiating a kind environment in your home. He may be unemployed now, but didn’t you love him, and was crazy for him once upon a time? When was the last time you two made love or even held hands?
Of course he’s been a pain, but haven’t you wanted to cuddle up even once, in a moment of human need? Startle him, amaze him, and be the woman he fell in love with. Try to catch this fly with honey rather than vinegar—it just may work.
Life is too short and too hard not to allow a tiny bit of change to happen.